How much water does a fire truck hold?

David K. Israel

Ever wonder how many gallons of water the average fire truck holds? I didn't, until I witnessed a scary blaze last week in Brooklyn. I happened to catch most of it on a little HD cam, which you can check out in the video above (the last 30 seconds are especially worth watching). As NYFD put out the fire, the question started formulating in my mind. So I asked one of the firemen and this is what I learned:

The typical truck holds 400 to 500 gallons of water, which is only enough to put out a "trash-bin fire" (or a taxi cab fire). A real structure fire requires at least one supply line from the hydrant.

The amount of water you can get out of the hydrant, as well as the speed you can pull the water, depends on the size of the "mains" and the hydrants. Some are 2 ½" mains, others are 36" mains - they vary greatly. And guess what? It's the exact same water that we drink from our little faucets in our kitchens.